Project Status

Project Type:  Protected Spring

Regional Program: Western Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 175 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2019

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 06/08/2024

Project Features

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Most of the people living in Emmachembe Community are small scale farmers who grow crops like sugarcane, maize, sweet potatoes, and beans. There are also a lot of trees surrounding this area. Most of the time you will find people busy on their farms. That is because they make a living selling what they harvest. That money helps pay for their children’s education and meet other daily needs.

Most parents are awake by 5:30 am to prepare their children to go to school. After the children have gone, they start their domestic chores. Parents prepare lunch for their kids, who come back home for a break at 12:45 pm. After eating, the children immediately go back to school to proceed with afternoon lessons until 3:45 pm.

Pupils engage in games until 4:45 pm and then go back home to assist parents in attending to other daily chores before the day ends. Their parents will instruct them who is to prepare dinner, who to draw water from the spring, and who to clean the compound. Once these chores are complete the children will begin their studies.

For more than 175 people, Magina Spring is their main source of water. This is because it is strategically positioned to serve all community members in this area.

A discharge pipe was inserted directly into the soil years ago to help the water flow out and make it easier for people to collect water at the spring. It is dangerous to drink water from such a source since is easy to contact diseases because the place is not protected.

When safe water is scarce such as during the dry season, this water source becomes overcrowded since the demand for water may be high and could even lead to conflicts among those fetching water who may be in a hurry. Another consequence is that community members may be tempted to use water from any other source that may have been contaminated thus leading to illness that may force the family to dig deep into their pockets to care for hospital bills using money that was intended for other family needs such as food, clothing, and school fees.

"Our kids often suffer from diarrhea and complain of stomachaches since they drink [this] water. It forces us to take them to a healthcare facility for treatment which is often expensive," said Ritah Musotsi, a farmer who uses the spring to meet her family's water needs.

Protecting this spring will really benefit members of this entire community, reported our teams after their visit. It will help ensure that people access safe and clean drinking water that will promote a healthy community. It will curb the spread of illnesses that are a result of contaminated water.

What we can do:

Spring Protection

Protecting the spring will help provide access to cleaner and safer water. Construction will keep surface runoff and other contaminants out of the water. With the community’s high involvement in the process, there should be a good sense of responsibility and ownership for the new clean water source.

Fetching water is predominantly a task carried out by both women and young girls. Protecting the spring and offering training and support will, therefore, help empower the female members of the community by freeing up more of their time and energy to engage and invest in income-generating activities.


Community members will attend hygiene and sanitation training for at least 2 days. This training will ensure participants have the knowledge they need about healthy practices and their importance.

The facilitator plans to use Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST), Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), group discussions, handouts, and demonstrations at the spring. One of the most important topics we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. We will also emphasize the importance of handwashing.

Training will result in the formation of a committee that will oversee the operations and maintenance of the spring. They will enforce proper behavior around the spring and delegate tasks that will help preserve the site, such as building a fence and digging proper drainage channels. The fence will keep out destructive animals, and the drainage will keep the area’s mosquito population at a minimum.

Sanitation Platforms

On the final day of training, participants will select 5 families that should benefit from new concrete latrine floors. Training will inform the community and selected families on what they need to contribute to make this project a success. They must mobilize locally available materials, including bricks, clean sand, and gravel. The 5 families chosen for sanitation platforms must prepare by sinking a pit for the sanitation platforms to be placed over. All community members must work together to make sure that accommodations and food are always provided for the work teams.

Project Updates

November, 2019: Emmachembe Community, Magina Spring Project Complete!

Emmachembe Community now has access to clean water! Magina Spring has been transformed into a flowing source of water thanks to your donation. We protected the spring, provided 5 sanitation platforms to different households in the community, and we trained the community on improved sanitation and hygiene practices.

Spring Protection

Community members provided all locally available construction materials, including bricks, wheelbarrows of clean sand, stones, and fencing poles. Accommodations and meals were provided for the artisan, too.

Community members delivering construction materials to the spring site

The Process

Women and men lent their strength to the artisan to help him with manual labor. The spring area was excavated to create space for setting the foundation of thick plastic tarp, wire mesh, and concrete. After the base had been set, both wing walls and the headwall were set in place using brickwork. The discharge pipe was fixed low in place through the headwall to direct the water from the reservoir to the drawing area.

Artisna measures the headwall after setting the discharge pipe

As the wing walls and headwall were curing, the stairs were set and ceramic tiles were fixed directly below the discharge pipe. This protects the concrete from the erosive force of the falling water and beautifies the spring. The process of plastering the headwall and wing walls on both sides reinforces the brickwork and prevents water from the reservoir from seeping through the walls and allows pressure to build in the collection box to push water up through the discharge pipe.

Plastering the rub wall and drainage channel

The source area was filled up with clean stones and sand and covered with a thick plastic tarp to prevent potential sources of contamination. The only challenge we had throughout the entire process was that the rains started early and the artisan often had to stop and wait for them to end, continuing with the work late in the evening. Despite this, however, the artisan and community members worked in the rain when they could and all else went as planned.

Covering backfilled areas with plastic tarp

It took about 2 weeks of patience for the concrete to dry. As soon as it was ready, people got the okay from our field officers to begin fetching clean water. We met them there to celebrate this momentous occasion. The community members were overjoyed to see their spring protected and clean water flowing. They sang songs of praise appreciating God and The Water Project together for the great work done.

Planting grass around the spring and over the fenced-in spring box

"We are serving a mighty God. We have been asking [people] to help us protect this spring but all was in vain. Little did we know that God was sending us the right people who will protect our spring and empower us with knowledge at the same time. God bless The Water Project family," said Mrs. Kellen Magina, Chair of the water committee.

Singing in celebration of the spring; Field Officer Betty Majani joins in (back left in all red)

Sanitation Platforms

All 5 sanitation platforms have been installed. These 5 families are happy about this milestone of having a private latrine of their own and are optimistic that people will no longer leave waste outdoors. We are continuing to encourage families to finish building walls and roofs over their new latrine floors.

Proud new sanitation platform owner

New Knowledge

Kellen Magina, who would be elected Chair of the water committee, was tasked with organizing the training. She gave us the community’s preferred date for training, for she was very much aware of the community calendar when it comes to planting season and other big events.

We were a little bit worried about the turn out because the rains started as early as 2:00 pm that day when we had scheduled an afternoon training, but we were able to get 13 adults and 3 children to come. We did our training near the spring in one of the community member's compounds. We had some newly married ladies who were more active compared to the other participants. Since some of them had moved to Emmachembe because of their marriage, they wanted to know more about spring management so that the spring would serve them for a long time.

Field Officer Betty leading the site management session

We covered several topics including leadership and governance; operation and maintenance of the spring; healthcare; family planning; immunizations; and the prevention and spread of disease. We also covered water treatment methods, personal care like handwashing, environmental hygiene, hygiene promotion, and many other things.

Handwashing session

During the leadership and governance session, through brainstorming the facilitator and participants were able to define a leader as a person who is ready to serve everyone in a given area without discrimination. We also asked for examples of the characteristics of a good leader.

Some responses were, "a leader should be understanding and friendly to all members, "a leader should be ready to solve a dispute in the group," "a leader should be industrious," "a leader should not be corrupt" and "a leader should have a vision."

All of the community members they elected to head their water committee for the spring promised to lead by example. This was a very thoughtful session and we were glad to see the participants taking it so seriously.

A moment of humor during training

While discussion group dynamics, the facilitator asked the participants if they were currently in any group and what challenges they were facing in that group. One of the participants shared with us what she went through in a poultry raising group, and how unsettled disagreements led to the dissolution of the group.

The facilitator then took them through the different stages of group formation, namely forming, norming, storming, and performing. We took a particular focus on the storming phase and how this can happen in any order after forming, discussing different ways the group members and leader might go about handling it and working through it.

Handwashing practice

During the training, we were also able to discuss at length how community members can raise money in case any repairs will be needed at the spring. Some of the answers from the participants were that they will put money into a savings fund through table banking, merry-go-round collection, fees from members, and donations from well-wishers.

Happy training participants with Trainer Betty on far right

"Protection of this spring has been an eye-opener to us. We have really learned a lot and with this knowledge, our life will not be the same again. We are ready to spread the WaSH gospel to other community members so that they can also benefit and prevent their families from minor challenges," said 53-year-old farmer Rosemary Mukweyu.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2019: Emmachembe Community, Magina Spring Project Underway!

Dirty water from Magina Spring is making people in Emmachembe sick. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the narrative and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with news of success!

Project Photos

Project Type

Springs are water sources that come from deep underground, where the water is filtered through natural layers until it is clean enough to drink. Once the water pushes through the surface of the Earth, however, outside elements like waste and runoff can contaminate the water quickly. We protect spring sources from contamination with a simple waterproof cement structure surrounding layers of clay, stone, and soil. This construction channels the spring’s water through a discharge pipe, making water collection easier, faster, and cleaner. Each spring protection also includes a chlorine dispenser at the waterpoint so community members can be assured that the water they are drinking is entirely safe. Learn more here!

Giving Update: Emmachembe Community, Magina Spring

February, 2021

A year ago, your generous donation helped Emmachembe Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Joseph. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Emmachembe Community 5.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Emmachembe Community 5 maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

"The water and its environment used to be so dirty because the spring was open. The water used to be dirty but we had no choice but to drink it."

"It's now enjoyable and easy to fetch water as it is clean and coming directly from the pipe. As for now, I don't have to think twice before drinking water as the spring is protected and well-maintained, and this guarantees clean water."

"I no longer waste a lot of time to fetch water as I did before. This has helped me plan my school work."

Joseph and Field Officer Olivia at the spring.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Emmachembe Community 5 maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Emmachembe Community 5 – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.